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Farley Family One of Many Facing Guardianship Challenges

Dr. Ena Farley

According to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, 1.3 million older adults and people with disabilities are currently under guardianship. Chairman Bob Casey and Ranking Member Mike Braun have spotlighted the issue they say is critical to guardianship laws in the United States. Their letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed statistics that they say highlight the severity of the situation.



The Farley family is among those families facing guardianship challenges in New York State. Jonathan Farley and his brothers are in a legal fight over the custody of their 84-year-old mother, Dr. Ena Farley. Jonathan contends that their mother was unjustly placed under guardianship.


Jonathan, who has created a website and the YouTube channel, "Free Ena Farley", insists that his brother, Chris, Dr. Farley's Power of Attorney(POA) and temporary guardian is responsible for the family dispute in surrogate court.


Jonathan alleges that Dr. Farley was "kidnapped" when she was removed from her home by police on February 5, 2023. Video footage captures Dr. Farley as she screams, "You're breaking my arm!" during the confrontation with police following a prolonged discussion.


Jonathan asserted that despite his mother not being declared mentally incompetent by a judge or doctor, she was unjustly confined to a nursing home and subjected to medication for an entire year. Jonathan says his mother had explicitly objected to this ordeal on video and in Cranberry Landing's records. However, Jonathan alleges the only agencies that could assist Dr. Farley seemed to side with his brother, Chris.  


Jonathan also accuses the Monroe County Sheriff's Office of refusing to allow him to report what he says was "the criminal kidnapping" of his mother. He claims Judge Ciaccio denied them the opportunity to have a medical doctor assess his mother's condition. Jonathan claims that communication with Dr. Farley has been limited. He says that it is unacceptable to abduct and torment someone for a year and then turn around and claim, "Look, she needs help."


The next court hearing for the Farley family is scheduled in June. This hearing will establish the facts surrounding the disputes within the family. This legal battle sheds light on the ethical and legal challenges in guardianship cases, echoing the concerns raised by family members in the Wendy Williams guardianship case. Critics believe these similarities highlight the need for legal protections and oversight to ensure the rights of vulnerable individuals under guardianship are safeguarded. 


The Wendy Williams guardianship saga, which gained significant public attention, serves as a point of comparison to the Farley case. Wendy Williams, a talk show host, disclosed the dilemmas surrounding her own guardianship in the eye-opening documentary "Where's Wendy Williams." The outcry from her supporters demanded transparency and a fair legal process in guardianship cases, underscoring the necessity for legal safeguards to shield individuals under guardianship.


Some believe guardianship disputes often involve intricate family dynamics and conflicting interests, making them complex and challenging to resolve. Disability Rights New York (DRNY)provides free legal and advocacy services to individuals with disabilities. According to its website, the organization investigates complaints to protect and advance the rights of children and adults with disabilities, "We tirelessly work to empower those we assist, enabling them to make their own life choices and actively participate in community life."


Contact DRNY if your family is struggling with a guardship in NYS.


DRNY

Phone: (518) 432-7861

Toll Free: (800) 993-8982

Fax: (518) 427-6561

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